Addding a subpanel to the garage

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  #1  
Old 05-23-05, 07:46 AM
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Addding a subpanel to the garage

We currently do not have any electrical servcie within our detached garage. At one point, the garage was powered, but the inspector made the previous homeowner disconnect the service since they did not bury the wire from the house to the garage.

Anyway, I am looking at adding a subpanel to the garage in the very near future. I've wired subpanels before, but they have always been located next to the main panel.

My plan is to take one of the unused 240, 40 amp circuits in the main breaker that is currently there for a electric dryer and electric oven (we use gas on both appliances) and run it to a subpanel within the garage.

I'm a bit confused on grounding the subpanel. One souce says the subpanel requires its own grounding rod and another source says that is not necessary. Which way is correct?

Thanks in advance.
 
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  #2  
Old 05-23-05, 08:16 AM
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First of all, I encourage you to design this according to your needs, without being biased by some random spare breaker that happens to currently exist in the panel.

When you read directions for subpanels, pay particular attention to whether the directions you are reading are for subpanels in the same building as the main panel, or for subpanels in detached buildings (such as you have). The rules are very different, and what is correct for one would be incorrect for the other.

Subpanels in detached structures always require at least one grounding rod. There are many other rules specific to subpanels in detached structures. Study up.
 
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Old 05-23-05, 09:28 AM
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Thanks for the info. I've been doing a lot of research on subpanels in detached structures and don't plan on doing anything until I have a handle on all details of the project.

As far as planning goes, the unused 240V circuits will never be used do to their location. There was some remodeling done on the house about 15 years ago. Appliances were re-located but the electrical outlets were not so they are useless unless we move them to the current stove and dryer locations. I am a big fan of gas ranges and dryers so I don't plan on ever needing either one.

Thanks again.
 
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Old 05-23-05, 09:47 AM
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John's point about analyzing your needs is about NOT reusing a breaker simply because it is there. If your needs analysis says that you need a 40 amp circuit, and you really donít anticipate using the electric range, then by all means use the breaker, especially if the circuit is no good where it presently located anyway.

However, if your needs analysis determines that you need a different size circuit (smaller or larger) then donít try to force your circuit to be 40 amps. You will end up undersized or oversized. Undersized will mean you will be limited in what you can do in the garage or will be tripping breakers, and oversized means you will have to buy larger cable than you really need.
 
  #5  
Old 05-23-05, 10:12 AM
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However, if your needs analysis determines that you need a different size circuit (smaller or larger) then donít try to force your circuit to be 40 amps. You will end up undersized or oversized. Undersized will mean you will be limited in what you can do in the garage or will be tripping breakers, and oversized means you will have to buy larger cable than you really need.
Good point. I'm certain it won't be undersized, but I never thought about oversided and the potential cost reduction in sizing it correctly. I'll run some calcs tonight to see what I really need.

As of right now, I need power for a garage door opener, a few lights within the garage, a flood light on the garage's exterior and a few 120 VAC GFCI outlets for the occassional power tool. I do most work in the basement so the garage doesn't get utilized.

Thanks again for the great input.
 
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